Thursday, May 26, 2011

Something old, something new

Yesterday I had a six-hour class on the purchasing procedures for my job.  Most of the information was not new to me, and what was new was provided in a detailed PowerPoint presentation that I can read at my leisure.  Basically it was a mind-numbing experience.  I was fully capable of learning what I needed to know while only half paying attention.  So, what did I do with the other half of my brain?  Why, I wrote, of course!

But, since I didn't have a computer in front of me, I had to change things up.  I am a computer composer.  I rarely pick up a pen or pencil for anything, preferring to brainstorm ideas and compose notes in MS Word.  However, all I had in front of me was a notepad and a pen.  And this proved to be plenty.

I have recently been interested in seeing if the "Clonan" I mentioned in my last blog post is truly dead.  I am convinced that in commercial circles, it is.  Publishers probably won't touch such simple, straight-forward action yarns anymore.  And that's fine.  They're in the business of making money, so they have to go with what sells.  And let's face it, hulking barbarians in literature probably won't sell much these days.  But, there's a relative handful of holdouts like me who sometimes prefer these simpler tales to the angst-ridden, verbose and detail-heavy fantasy tales of today.  Don't get me wrong, I like those too.  But sometimes I just want to crack open a short book filled with action, danger, and maybe a little sex, all brought to life through the exploits of a huge warrior who has the power to carve his destiny with the keen edge of a broadsword.  And since it doesn't seem that I will get any of that beyond forays into used book stores, I thought I would produce some short novels of my own for the eBook market.

To that end, I took up my pen, and began to scribble notes about a character that I had recently envisioned.  As I said, I usually do this on the computer.  So it was with some amazement that I found details flowing from pen to paper.  Admittedly, it was slow at first.  I find that I rarely have to write anything by hand these days, so the muscles involved, which are different than the muscles involved in typing, were a little stiff.  My penmanship looked like a ninth-graders.  But, it's legible, and understandable.  In the end I had two, hand-written pages consisting of notes about the character, his background, and a rough outline for his first book.

The whole experience reminded me of when I was about 14 years old.  At the time, I was huge into Mack Bolan, and my friend and I would write stories about our own Men's Adventure characters (mine was Darryl Knox, as portrayed in my mind by Marc Singer).  I still have the notebook that contains my efforts in that regard.  Handwritten, with paragraphs and passages scratched out and re-written.  It's an interesting way to write, to say the least.

This also illustrated a point that I have read from authors and writers a lot.  That change will often be what is needed to get past a rut or writer's block.  In this instance, a simple change in how I write seemed to provide a good creative spark.


bowiefan said...

It is amazing how changing my cutting tools makes me
approach my creativity level rise.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Tool changing is good, sometimes.

I used to swap guitars when I got stuck songwriting.

I bought Scrivener a while back and it's getting me excited.

Last night, I was stuck for inspiration, so I "pulled a David West" and scraped the Web for images to inspire, and put them in a folder right in the project (very handy.)

I might make that a matter of course going forward.

Charles Gramlich said...

Exactly. Change up. stretching your wings. It's fun and challenging, and I think good stuff often results.